How to rut-proof your relationship

Have you noticed time alone with your husband now consists of discussing nappy changing rosters, or your boyfriend has bought you household appliances for the fifth birthday running?
How to rut-proof your relationship

Image: Thinkstock, posed by models

There’s an old adage that if a relationship isn’t growing, at best it’s stagnant and at worse it’s dying. Once you’re comfortable in a relationship it’s easy to fall into the trap of bad habits which can lead to ruts and a downward spiral.

It’s funny, we insure against damage to houses and prevent cars from becoming rusty and dull but we seem to overlook the importance of protecting our precious relationships with the same TLC. Before we know it, the little rut we’re in has turned into a grave. So grab your shovels and dig your way back to a stronger, more exciting relationship with the following advice.

How easy is it to get home from work, turn the telly on and slouch on the sofa? Most of us don’t care what’s on, as long as it’s some form of escapism. Scarily, some experts believe that vegging monotonously in front of the telly is like entering a low-level depressive state; clearly unhealthy for a growing relationship.

SOS tip:

Okay, so you don’t have to go all rock star and chuck the telly out the window just to save your relationship but do limit yourself. Watch it consciously: plan what you watch and when it’s finished don’t flick; turn it off.

On the flip side, TV can often benefit your relationship by stimulating discussions. By finding genres you both like to watch together, it’s surprising what you can learn about each others values and opinions.

With mounting financial pressures meaning long hours at the office, it’s easy to become passing ships in the night.

Technology rut

Technologies like Ipads, Blackberry’s and laptops haven’t helped either, making work accessible anytime, anywhere. Even at home when intentions are good, work mode is rarely switched off.

SOS tip:

Try to limit your interaction with technology at home. Resist the urge to check unnecessary emails or open up the laptop needlessly.

If you need to work after hours from home then make time for brief interactions with your partner. A kiss in the hallway or a quick tea break can really help bridge the distance.

Remember the excitement of those first few flirty dinner dates?

Romance rut

Five years on and you’re riveting “dates” are probably now takeaway Thai in trackies every Friday night. This effortless night with your man is great once in awhile but the long term monotony is guaranteed to get you questioning whether you’re being taken for granted.

SOS tip:

If you’re already doing the date thing, great but chances are they’re still the humdrum cheap Tuesday dates at the movies. So, get inspired! Get dressed up, do something crazy, push the boundaries.

Banish the boredom of dating routines by drawing up a list of things you’ve always wanted to do. Whether it’s sampling Polish cuisine or learning how to maintain a bonsai garden, make sure you take turns trying things together.

Relationships may start with flowers and gooey texts but reality sets in pretty quickly when arguments become routine.

Argue rut

Over the years the same fights will be activated again and again by unresolved issues if not addressed.

SOS tip:

Breaking learnt patterns of arguing will make fights cleaner, more proactive and with more resolutions. Don’t go into discussions with a preconceived idea of how it will go or what will be said; approach subjects openly and learn each other’s triggers.

If things become heated, a great tip is agreeing on a time out. Make sure you state you want the space, don’t storm off and always come back to it, whether its five minutes or five hours later.

A stagnant sex life can turn relationship cracks into crevasses if not given attention.

Bedroom rut

Initially, its all systems go as our body produces sex chemicals that help us hook up and want more. But after time, the chemicals die off and headaches rather than sex toys take centre stage in the bedroom.

So, if neither of you bats an eyelid when he’s on the toilet and you’re brushing your teeth, it’s probably time to revaluate that passion meter.

SOS tip:

Just like re-dating, sexing things up should focus on novelty and trying new things. If sex just doesn’t thrill you anymore, find a way to speak up. Chances are if you’re not feeling it, neither is he.

Don’t feel that swinging from chandeliers in a latex body suit is necessary to kick-start the process. It’s important to feel comfortable with your boundary pushing so start with little changes. Having sex in different rooms or talking about sexy dreams will do wonders to keep those fires burning.

Your say: Is your relationship in a rut or do you have advice for others in this situation? Please share your comments below.

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